Investigational flu treatment drug has broad-spectrum potential to fight multiple viruses
FORT BELVOIR, Va., Jan. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- BioDefense Therapeutics (BD Tx)--a Joint Product Management office within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)--announced the first patient enrolled in the North American Phase 3 clinical trials for favipiravir (T-705a). The drug is an investigational flu treatment candidate with broad-spectrum potential being developed by BD Tx through a contract with Boston-based MediVector, Inc.
Favipiravir is a novel, antiviral compound that works differently than anti-flu drugs currently on the market. The novelty lies in the drug's selective disruption of the viral RNA replication and transcription process within the infected cell to stop the infection cycle.
"Favipiravir has proven safe and well tolerated in previous studies," said LTC Eric G. Midboe, Joint Product Manager for BD Tx. "This first patient signifies the start of an important phase in favipiravir's path to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for flu and lays the groundwork for future testing against other viruses of interest to the DoD."
In providing therapeutic solutions to counter traditional, emerging, and engineered biological threats, BD Tx chose favipiravir not only because of its potential effectiveness against flu viruses, but also because of its demonstrated broad-spectrum potential against multiple viruses. In addition to testing favipiravir in the ongoing influenza program, BD Tx is testing the drug's efficacy against the Ebola virus and other viruses considered threats to service members. In laboratory testing, favipiravir was found to be effective against a wide variety of RNA viruses in infected cells and animals.
"FDA-approved, broad-spectrum therapeutics offer the fastest way to respond to dangerous and potentially lethal viruses," said Dr. Tyler Bennett, Assistant Product Manager for BD Tx.
MediVector is overseeing the clinical trials required by the FDA to obtain drug licensure. The process requires safety data from at least 1,500 patients treated for flu at the dose and duration proposed for marketing of the drug. Currently, 150 trial sites are planned throughout the U.S.
About BioDefense Therapeutics
BioDefense Therapeutics is a Joint Product Manager within the Medical Countermeasure Systems (JPM-MCS) Joint Project Management Office. A component of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, JPM-MCS aims to provide U.S. military forces and the nation with safe, effective, and innovative medical solutions to counter chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. JPM- MCS facilitates the advanced development and acquisition of medical countermeasures and systems to enhance our nation's biodefense response capability.
SOURCE BioDefense Therapeutics